“A wave of people in blue t-shirts gathered at Los Angeles City Hall for a council meeting on Tuesday. They were there to encourage Los Angeles City Council members to endorse a proposition that they believe will benefit LA residents.
When the City Council meeting began, an official told everyone to stand for the national anthem. But one man, Jonathan Motter, in a white t-shirt with the words “#YES ON 10” written on it in Sharpie, took a knee instead.
Motter was priced out of his home as a college student at Long Beach State University. “I would have to find a new apartment every semester because of the rents there,” he said.
Motter expects that Proposition 10 will provide residents like him with more housing security. He and other Prop 10 supporters hope that the proposition will limit how much LA rent will increase by expanding rent control.
The way rent control works depends on the city, but in Los Angeles the rent in apartments built before 1978 can rise between 3 and 8 percent per year. If passed, Prop 10 would give city lawmakers the option to adjust rent control laws and possibly expand the number of buildings that can be rent controlled.
The council voted to endorse the proposition, 13-1.
“It gives communities back the power to determine which rent control policies work for them,” councilmember Harris-Dawson said in a statement.
Robert L. Duarte of LA County Business Federation was hoping for a different outcome.
“It repeals an important California rental housing law with no replacement and no plan to address affordable and middle-class housing or deal with the problem of increasing homelessness” Duarte said. He also thinks Prop 10 will freeze housing construction and take rentals off the market.
Major cities like LA are already failing to approve enough housing projects to meet resident needs. The lack of housing is one reason why Prop 10 is just a short term fix, according to UCLA economist William Yu.
“The intention is very good to try to help relieve the housing burden on the renter, but in the long run it will hurt the renter as well,” Yu said.
He explained that lower rents don’t incentivize housing developers to build new apartments, therefore increasing the demand and the price of housing. California already deals with a shortage in available housing. LA county needs over 5oo,00 new units of affordable housing to satisfy the demand of low-income earners. According to Yu, Prop 10 will only exacerbate this issue.
According to Yu, the best way to manage the housing crisis is to remove barriers, such as height-limiting zones, that prevent new housing from being built.
California voters will vote on Prop 10 in the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 6.”